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Scholarly Article 1- Bullies and Bullying

February 27, 2011

Bullies and Bullying written by Jennifer Ralston discusses the widespread problem of bullying, its impact on children being bullied, how bullying is seen as a factor causing the bullied to become violent and provides prevention programs and suggestions geared on combating the issue of bullying. Also, Ralston breaks down the forms of bullying into three categories: verbal, physical and relational bullying, which is commonly seen in middle and high schools. Ralston main argument is demonstrating the correlation between the Columbine shooting and school bullying.

The article identifies three main forms of school bullying: verbal, physical and relational bullying. Verbal bullying consists of “name calling, taunting and racial slurs.” This type of bullying is the “most common and can have the longest lasting impression on the bullied”. Physical bullying is the more “noticeable type of bullying”. It consists of slapping, kicking and damaging property of the bullied. While relational bullying is the “demonstrated more in junior high schools”. It consists of gossiping, ignoring and isolating the bullied. Due to these types of school bullying, tragic events like the Columbine shooting occurred.

The Columbine shooting occurred when two senior students at Columbine High School brought guns to school and opened fired on the schools general population. The two boys embarked on a massacre, killing 12 students and 1 teacher, while injuring 24 other students. At the end of the massacre the two shooters ended up committing suicide.     

Psychologist analyzing why something so traumatic took place, concluded that being bullied was one of the main causes of this violent attack. While in school, the two boys were seen as outcast and ostracized. The two seniors were characterized as being anti-social and inclusive. They were constantly teased, picked on and tormented by the school’s athletes and other students. Due to the constant torment, the two students went into a deep depression and hatred towards the school and wanted to retaliate against it. Unfortunately, they took out their anger on the school’s student body through violence.

The article goes on to demonstrate through statistical data the impact that bullying is having on students. The National Association of School Psychologists and the U.S. Department of Justice “estimate that 160,000 students miss school every day because they are fearful of being bullied.” A study performed by the National Mental Health and Education Center states: “Bullying is the most common form of violence in our society and between 30% and 50% of students are bullies or victims.” Being a victims bullying can lead to low self esteem, depression and extreme violence towards other as in the case of Columbine.  

Ralston believes that bullying is a “learned behavior”, so she recommends the implementation of bully prevention programs geared to influence and change the social norm of bullying. That means, bullying is seen as a rite of passage that every teenager goes through in their adolescences. Therefore, we need to change the mindset that bullying is “normal” and address the issue of bullying like it really is, an epidemic. She encourages teachers in these programs to discuss the impact and spread awareness of bullying to students. Through these programs, students will have the ability to communicate their feelings on bullying and figure out the best solutions to eliminate it.

Ralston, Jennifer. (2005). Bullies and Bullying. School Library Journal, Issue 5, p49-49, 2/3p.

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